So I saw the avengers tonight. Finally. I know, I’m mad late on this shit. but anyway
Over the last few weeks I’ve been seeing all of these posts on tumblr about how Natasha Romanoff A.K.A. Black Widow is this great female super hero and “Rely on a man to save the day? Hell no!” over a picture of Scarlett Johanson. Maybe it’s just a common feminist mentality to take something that looks hopeful and take it WAAAAY too far (no offense to any feminists that DON’T do this and are actually logical human beings - but you have feminists on your team that are a little bit entirely insane), but Black Widow DEFINITELY was not a good example of someone who doesnt need a man to save the day. In AT LEAST half the fight scenes she was in, her ass got saved by a man! And don’t get me wrong. GOD BLESS Black Widow in this movie. Beautiful, funny, sexy attitude, and can fight. TOTALLY kick ass super hero. Not to mention, she wore that tight leather suit and the camera just happened to pan on her ass half the time. She was awesome. But please, ladies…understand something. Just because you see a woman on screen doing some of the same things men do all the time (including but not limited to: beating the shit out of men), don’t immediately support it with everything you have…the fact that she needed men in half the scenes literally goes against everything you guys fight for towards equality…hmm…actually…forget I said it. Continue as you were. ;-) haha
I’m reblogging this against my better judgement not because your level of discourse really has me “queefing” but because in between the deep thoughts you’ve decided to share with the internet re: all the feminism you just learned by staring at Scarlett Johansson’s (actually not leather-clad) ass and how stop the presses there are women out there looking to feel empowered by fiction and that is a step too far— there’s an idea here that some good could come from unraveling.
So. The spandex-and-capes thing is a lot about the triumph of individual valor over the ordinary (something the Avengers movie dealt with a lot, in between the ass shots)— but not at the cost of teamwork. Heroes that cannot be humbled cease to be heroes. Saving the world is a reciprocal business, and the whole esprit de corps thing the film builds up to suggests that Avenging is one part having everyone else’s back and one part trusting that they have yours.
That’s why it’s not actually a knock on Natasha’s feminist credentials that like, Captain America helped launch her onto a flying evil alien jetski. Feminist narratives aren’t actually defined by the absence of good men— they aren’t defined by men, or the lack of them, at all.
Natasha can function as part of a team without giving up any of her self-determination. Look, I know you just kind of made up that “Rely on a man to save the day? Hell no!” line to point and laugh at it, but it’s actually not wrong. Natasha doesn’t sit back and wait for the world to burn, she involves herself on the front lines for her own reasons, even though it goes against everything a life’s worth of training has burned into her nerves. That is her specific heroism, and she takes it, and it doesn’t disappear when in a 40ft radius of the Hawkeye/Thor gunshow.
That’s about where the internet’s feminist alarm bells go off, I’d expect. The ass-kicking is only a part of it— she was kicking ass and Not Being Rescued in Iron Man 2 and I’m not sure if anyone considered that a feminist triumph. Kicking ass and Not Being Rescued aren’t really surefire shortcuts to the coveted strong female character prize, even if they’re nice things to have in movies that don’t look backwards at explosions. But this movie also explained Natasha in terms of herself, her past, her implicit tragedies, and then it rewarded her character arc by having her meaningfully contribute to the wider plot. The Avengers needed every single member in that last climactic battle, Black Widow included. That was kinda the point. It had nothing to do with the ways men did or didn’t save her, but everything to do with how she saved herself— and how rare convincing character arcs are for women in the spandex film genre.
Continue as you were ;-)